For whatever reason, Liam Neeson has decided to make himself a new… MoreFor whatever reason, Liam Neeson has decided to make himself a new action star. Since this decision was made, most of the actioners he's been in have been, at best, slightly above-average. NonStop, from the director of Unknown (another Liam Neeson action film), is no exception.
The setup is actually a fairly interesting one. Neeson, an Air Marshal, boards a flight on which someone will die every twenty minutes unless he gives the unknown perpetrator $150 million. The claustrophobia that comes with the setting works well for this type of film, and there are no fewer than fifteen passengers that are presented as potential terrorists. People begin to drop without any apparent cause, the absurdity of the plot growing in direct proportion to the body count. Though the atmosphere is impeccable, the revelation of the cause and reason of the killings is just... stupid. There's really no other word for it. Overall, it's another slightly-above average Liam Neeson action movie.
Luc Besson, the famous French action aficionado (and writer of 3 Days… MoreLuc Besson, the famous French action aficionado (and writer of 3 Days to Kill), has never been known for making his films especially deep. This is, after all, the guy who made The Transporter, Lockout, and last year's The Family. He's good at action, not so much at dialogue or storytelling.
The same holds true here. 3 Days to Kill tries to be several different things at once: a family drama, a love story, and a spy thriller all in one. But these many facets fail to come together into something good. It's made fairly well, and the acting is serviceable all around. But the plot is so cliched that it quickly becomes a bore, to a degree that the family-relationship sections come off as more eye-rolling than they should.
And really, there's not much else to say. It's a competent film built on the foundations of hundreds that have come before. And if you don't mind watching a few of those again, give 3 Days a try. But if you don't, I don't blame you.
Unlike most people, I don't hold the 1987 original in very high… MoreUnlike most people, I don't hold the 1987 original in very high regard. It's true that it had something to say, and was plenty well made, but any semblance of a message got lost in the over-the-top violence. As to whether I prefer this newer, slicker, tamer version? I'd have to rewatch the original, but for now, I'd say that I do.
The plot is pretty much the same: cop is almost killed in the line of duty, thinly-veiled clandestine corporation rebuilds him in the name of liberty and justice for all, etc. Really, there's not a whole lot more about the plot (or the rest of the film) without veering into spoiler territory, but there are one or two twists and turns that, while utterly predictable (even to those who have not seen the original), are acted and presented well enough. The action is sleek and spare, never reveling in the bloodshed the way its predecessor did, so points for that. But at the end of the day, it's really just another actioner that genre fans should see, but everyone else should merely consider.
Who doesn't love Legos? For more than a century, kids and adults alike… MoreWho doesn't love Legos? For more than a century, kids and adults alike have been transforming these humble blocks into whatever they can imagine, from X-Wings to The Tower of Babel. And while these toys have been transmuted into art, literature, and video games, they had not yet been depicted in film (at least, not theatrically).
Well, their time has come at last, and the result is a wildly imaginative and thoughtful film, with all-star voice talent and breathtaking animation. Making excellent use of the various Lego product lines (this is probably the only time you'll see Han Solo and Batman in the same movie), The Lego Move tells a charming tale of how to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary, all the while providing slapstick gags and in-jokes to hilarious effect.
This film's major flaws are those that are common among animated features: its silliness can get excessive at times, and some gags are used too many times to retain their comedic value. But overall, this is a very good movie, and one truly made for all ages.
Peter Berg has an unsteady track record, to say the least. Having… MorePeter Berg has an unsteady track record, to say the least. Having directed such masterpieces as Hancock and Battleship, I wasn't exactly bursting with confidence when I saw his name on the bottom of the poster.
As it turns out, I needn't have worried. Though Lone Survivor is unquestionably heavy-handed in its message and storytelling, it is also an emotional, visceral look into one of the U.S. military's most infamously botched operations.
As you could probably tell from the title, only one of the four members of SEAL Team 10 is left standing by the end. But in the time I saw them, it was a bit too difficult to really care about them. Sure, each one had their own charm, but none of them (even Mark Wahlberg's character) really felt like people; just weapons that happened to misfire in the wrong place and at the wrong time.
For what it's worth, however, the film is well-written, and the final fifty minutes are nothing short of spectacular. Just don't walk in expecting Saving Private Ryan.
I really can't remember the last time I went to see an action film in… MoreI really can't remember the last time I went to see an action film in the theater. It's a genre that has just fallen out of my interest, as they all seem to be the same combination of bland writing and been-there-done-that violence. Based on what I knew of the plot and the names behind it, I expected Shadow Recruit to be a smarter-than-average, but still by-the-numbers take on the famed Tom Clancy character. I got what I expected, and not much else, really.
To its credit, Jack Ryan makes a pretty good first impression. Chris Pine (Kirk from 2009's Star Trek), Kevin Costner, Keira Knightley, Kenneth Branagh directing, and the writer of Schindler's List. What emerges from this pool of venerable talent is, at heart, just another action-thriller, with the requisite fistfights, car chases, and race against the clock. It's all very well-done, to be sure, with fine performances and some snappy dialogue punctuating the occasional monotony. Fans of the genre or source material, or just the casual filmgoer, will have a good time. But it doesn't come without a cost.